2023 Philanthropist of the Year: Ray Speciale

Ray Speciale 2023 YMCA of Frederick County Philanthropist of the YearToday and every day, the Y strengthens the fabric of our communities by ensuring we all have access to the resources, relationships, and opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. For Ray Speciale, his access to Y programs began during high school growing up in NY. A group of friends and Ray joined the Y to work out and play basketball after school (just like many, many teens from the Urbana area do every day). Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Ray Speciale, the Natelli Family Y came to fruition. 

“I’m filled with pride whenever I check in to use the Natelli Family Y, thinking I played a very small part in making this project come to life with so many people who did far more than I ever did. But to the extent that I can give my limited time, treasure, and talents, I am privileged to do so for such a worthy effort,” says Speciale.

Speciale has given his time, treasure, and talent to help further the YMCA  for more than 20 years. Beginning as a member of the Green Valley Y and an early “community organizer,” helping make a YMCA in the south county a reality. Ray has served as a YMCA Board Member on the Endowment Committee, South County Advisory Board, and on the Strategic Planning Committee. Ray has supported the YMCA Annual Campaign, and Capital Campaign to build the new Natelli Family Y and is a member of the Heritage Club.  

Speciale has been an associate professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg as well as a consulting lawyer for Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)  for nearly 35 years. As a proud resident of the Villages of Urbana, with his wife, Xiaoping, and daughter, Anna, Speciale understands how important having a YMCA in your community is. 

“I never realized the breadth and scope of the services that the Y brings to the Frederick community—child care, summer camps, Head Start, programs for youth and adults—it’s endless,” says Speciale.

When supporting the YMCA, you provide young people a chance at a brighter future, inspire healthy lifestyles and build vibrant communities right here in Frederick County!

“I have been amazed by how stalwart and effective the Y’s leadership team has been over the years, with all of the challenges and difficulties they encountered—floods, pandemics, etc. Chris Colville is the most amazing non-profit CEO I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She leads a terrific team that makes it easy to want to give what I can to the effort.”